3D Printed Hygroscopic Programmable Material Systems


The paper presents new developments into autonomously responsive architectural systems that adapt to environmental changes using hygroscopic material properties. The presented work expands upon previously developed research by the authors on wood-veneer composite meteorosensitive architectural systems based on the biomimetic transfer of the hygroscopic actuation of plant cones[1, 2]. The manipulation parameters, variables and syntactic elements that enabled such meteorosentive architectural systems to be possible, using the hygroscopic qualities of wooden veneer within a weather responsive wood-veneer composite system, are abstracted and transferred into a 3D printed composite system. The fuse deposition modelling approach presented further expands the research field into such autonomous responsive systems by enabling a more complex gradient of functional differentiation within a responsive element while also enabling on-surface complex articulations due to anisotropic conditions. The results indicate that the 3D printed prototype can maintain the ability to operate and respond autonomously and passively to changes in relative humidity, similarly to the wood veneer composite system, by embedding some of the same functional principles within the material itself. The numerically controlled fabrication methodology presented, enabled through 3D printing, looks at designing the “material syntax” as a strategy for functional programming and both formal and functional differentiation. That is, the system can transition within a single composite unit from a support structure to a responsive actuation element variably and multi-directionally. The proof-of-concept functional prototypes presented will situate the functional range of this research.

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Correspondence to David Correa Zuluaga.

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Correa Zuluaga, D., Menges, A. 3D Printed Hygroscopic Programmable Material Systems. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1800, 4 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2015.644

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